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Sweden Beat US On Penalties To Win Algarve Cup


In women's international football (soccer) there are three important tournaments: the World Cup (current holders: Germany), the Olympics (current holders: USA) and the annual 'Algarve Cup' (holders: USA). This last tournament may be invitation only and carry less media coverage than the other two genuinely world events, but it has been held since 1994 and it's final takes place in the Estádio Algarve - a 30,000 capacity ground built for the 2004 European Football Championships. The Algarve Cup's popularity with the national organisations lies in its informality, plus a chance to get a good workout in the sunny climes of Southern Portugal in early spring. Also, the invitational nature allows the organisers to arrange games with countries that might not otherwise meet in regular competitions. 12 teams are invited, with the top eight competing for the championship and a Group C (added in 2002) for second-tier teams, the winner and runner-up both getting a final play-off game with a higher-level team at the end.

The USA will be aiming for their seventh 'Cup' on Wednesday 11th March (all their wins coming since 2000) while Sweden will be looking for their third title - the last coming in 2001. One interesting statistic is that Denmark have been losing finalists five times and never won. This year they lost in the semis.

UPDATE: Sweden beat the United States 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 1-1 at full-time.